Featured in this issue…
THE FESTIVAL ISSUE
Jake Bugg Seen It All
Last year, eighteen-year-old Jake Bugg sat sheepishly in Clash HQ, preparing to be grilled for our Ones To Watch pages. We’d seen the YouTube videos and heard his demos and realised not only that this kid was seriously talented, but that his retro-tinged tunes laced with dissatisfaction and frustration showed an acute awareness beyond his years.
It wasn’t a difficult interview, yet Jake looked uncomfortable. Unused to being away from the environs of his Nottingham council estate home, Clifton, and still uneasy with the duties of an aspiring singer/songwriter, his demeanour was shy and maybe wary. Fast-forward eight months, and Clash is faced with a completely different person: nineteenyear-old Jake Bugg is an experienced world traveller with a Number One album and BRIT nomination to his name, rumoured dalliances with models, a war of words with One Direction, and an enthusiasm for talking about his music (though a friendship with ex-touring partner Noel Gallagher attests to a shared quality of having little patience for irrelevant and irreverent discussions, which is fine, as so does Clash.)
Festival Issue The Fields Are Nearly Open...
The fields are nearly open. The stages are almost set. The festival season is all but upon us. We love this magical time of effortless and mellifluous sociality, when new sounds mix with new friends and you may just stumble upon a new facet of your long borne personality. Or, you’ll drink way too much Strongbow, have an anal prolapse through too much moshing, and wake up with a foul trance crusty inside you. Still hard. It’s festival season. Anything can fucking happen. Here are a few things that certainly will.
James Blake Still Waters
The polished sound, look and artwork of James Blake can often give an impression of someone confident, calm and controlled. Yet, still waters run deep, and beneath the pretty, deadpan face of our pale protagonist lurks an inner battle for artistic honesty, a crushing weight of expectancy and the paranoia of becoming a ship that has gone off-course. Clash meets James in the lobby of his Texas hotel. He’s at SXSW Festival, but not for fun. Just to be a “cog in the machine” as he puts it. The next few weeks are going to be a journey, as he spreads the word of album number two, ‘Overgrown’. The select interviews he shall give are a conscious decision that reflects the album; “I’ve not really done many in the past compared to a lot of artists. Now, it seems like the right thing to do. This album is more open and outward.”
Phoenix Changing Shapes
We’ve been swamped. Whilst the world impatiently waits to run out of oil or be swamped by the melting icecaps, we find that we’ve quietly and completely flooded our world with too many songs. Music is now omnipresent. And it’s demeaning itself. Thus French pop heroes Phoenix were racked by existential angst at the notion of adding to this pile: “Yes, there’s too much music,” sighs Thomas Mars, singer of Phoenix and today’s band mouth piece alongside Christian Mazzalai. “Its embarrassing, almost, to put out a new record, because there’s so much music that it better be worth it.”
Local Natives Silence Is Silver
When clash turns up to see Local Natives play live we’re met by a badly deployed state trooper roadblock. The venue in which they’ve just picked up their instruments is awash with fans making it impossible to even broach the notion of entry of the saturated Cedar Courtyard in Austin.
“That’s the normal deal now, yeah: police roadblocks outside our gigs,” mocks Ryan Hahn, while his band mate and singer Taylor Rice cheekily concurs: “Yep! Standard procedure now.” They are making light of the propensity of unwelcome five-o, sarcastically pretending there’d been no flashing lights - but you get the impression that this is now the norm as Local Native’s second album ‘Hummingbird’ has seen them mature into one of America’s fastest growing stocks on the indie rock market.
The Strypes Ones To Watch
Don’t sign any dodgy deals,” state all The Strypes when asked if they had been given any wise words for their seemingly outof-control career start. This advice came from Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, and considering the amount of older gentlemen flying around the band at their sold-out London show speaking about “record labels” and “big cheques”, it seems like a pretty helpful comment.Album Spotlight
R.E.M. - Murmur
"It is the carefully crafted subtleties within it that made it such a highly referenced influence.""Regulars
- Stalker Terry Callier
- Rock And Rules Steve Cropper
- Royal Academy Reviews Darwin Deez
- Swan Song Stereophonics
- Iggy And The Stooges
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs
- The Postal Service
- The Leisure Society
- Depeche Mode
- Major Lazer
- Karl Hyde
- Shuggie Otis
- James Blake
- Edwyn Collins